National News Roundup
Most of the national reports on elementary and secondary education in America have neglected to address the "human and social factors" that affect children, according to the National Association of Social Workers Inc., whose 100,000 members serve school-age youths.
Summarizing the findings of a national survey of 500 social workers from 30 states, the group argues that "the interpersonal factors which contribute to excellence, and those human and social forces which may interfere with the attainment of excellence for all students have been largely overlooked. We submit that this view, as set forth, guarantees the failure of attempted reforms."
The report, "The Human Factor: A Key to Excellence in Education," outlines major "life forces"--such as teen-age suicide, depression, emotional disturbances, the rise of single-parent families, drug abuse, and child abuse and neglect--that social workers surveyed said constitute the greatest threats to educational excellence.
To overcome them, the report calls for stronger school-community collaboration, strengthened pupil services, increased parental involvement, and an emphasis on ear-ly intervention and prevention. The group also urges the development of strategies to overcome "barriers to excellence" erected by families, students, and schools, as well as communities, legislation, and funding patterns.
For information on receiving a copy of the report, contact nasw at 7981 Eastern Ave., Silver Spring, Md. 20910.
Sixty-nine percent of the 1,010 American workers recently polled by the National Committee on Pay Equity, a coalition of women's, civil-rights, and labor groups, said they believe women are not paid as fairly as men, and four out of five of the respondents said they support the concept of pay equity.
The survey, which the group says is the first to isolate views on the issue of pay equity, showed that "grassroots support of pay equity is strong and growing," according to Claudia Wayne, executive director of the Washington-based coalition. The poll was conducted in November by the Boston-based polling firm of Marttila and Kiley Inc.
"The poll shows that women and men care very much about fairness," Ms. Wayne said. "Their voices can no longer be ignored."
Among the survey's other findings: In unprompted responses, both men and women most frequently pointed to discrimination as the primary cause of the wage gap; 83 percent of the respondents said they think the wage gap is a serious problem that should be corrected; and 76 percent said the predominantly female teaching occupation is underpaid.